What to Do When You Are Fired or Laid Off: A Complete Guide to the Benefits and Legal Rights You Need to Know to Get Back on Your Feet


In the last several years, more than a million jobs have been lost in the United States, many of them due to the closure of plants, factories, or downsizing in shrinking companies. Millions more people have lost their jobs due to being fired, restructuring, or mergers in major corporations. Many thousands more are expected to lose their jobs in the year to come and that leads many to wonder what rights and benefits they have to help them recuperate and get back on their feet. This comprehensive guide to the laws ...

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In the last several years, more than a million jobs have been lost in the United States, many of them due to the closure of plants, factories, or downsizing in shrinking companies. Millions more people have lost their jobs due to being fired, restructuring, or mergers in major corporations. Many thousands more are expected to lose their jobs in the year to come and that leads many to wonder what rights and benefits they have to help them recuperate and get back on their feet. This comprehensive guide to the laws and benefits provided to those individuals who have lost their jobs, for whatever reason, will help you discover exactly what you can do to ensure you have the resources you need to salvage your life and your career after losing a job.

A complete listing of the requirements your employer is bound to and the legal implications of your particular situation will be provided in multiple chapters broken down to reflect the various situations in which you lost your job. If you were laid off due to a factory closing, you will be given advice on how much of your retirement benefits you are entitled to, how much notice your employer is legally required to provide you (as per the WARN act), and what you can do in the final 60 days to shore up future employment. If your company downsizes, you will be given detailed descriptions of the laws that apply to your workplace according to where you work and how long you have worked there.

You will learn what opportunities the federal government provides to those who have lost their jobs, including unemployment benefits and welfare coverage. You will also learn about how you can take advantage of additional workforce training to further your technical skills. You will learn how to handle your taxes while unemployed. You will learn how to know if your firing was legal and if you have a legal basis to reproach your company for laying you off. If you were unfairly terminated, you will be shown how you can approach an attorney and what you need to provide to win your case.

Finally, you will be shown which resources and tools are available to help you get back on your feet, finding a new job that utilizes your skills and training. You will learn how you can modernize your skill set with additional training, seek out hiring services, and supplement your income between jobs with temporary or part-time opportunities. Hours of expert opinions have been gathered into this book from hiring managers, employment lawyers, and other experts in the field to help you know exactly what rights you have and what you can do to recover. If you have been laid off, fired, or unfairly terminated, this book will provide you with everything you need to minimize the stress and suffering of your situation and get back on your feet in no time.

Atlantic Publishing is a small, independent publishing company based in Ocala, Florida. Founded over twenty years ago in the company president’s garage, Atlantic Publishing has grown to become a renowned resource for non-fiction books. Today, over 450 titles are in print covering subjects such as small business, healthy living, management, finance, careers, and real estate. Atlantic Publishing prides itself on producing award winning, high-quality manuals that give readers up-to-date, pertinent information, real-world examples, and case studies with expert advice.  Every book has resources, contact information, and web sites of the products or companies discussed.

This Atlantic Publishing eBook was professionally written, edited, fact checked, proofed and designed. The print version of this book is 360 pages and you receive exactly the same content. Over the years our books have won dozens of book awards for content, cover design and interior design including the prestigious Benjamin Franklin award for excellence in publishing. We are proud of the high quality of our books and hope you will enjoy this eBook version.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781601382870
  • Publisher: Atlantic Publishing Group Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword 13

Introduction 17

Chapter 1 Before You Become Unemployed 21

Prepare Yourself Financially 23

Investigate Other Possibilities 24

Prepare Yourself Legally 25

Chapter 2 What are your Rights, Benefits, and Obligations? 31

Unemployment Insurance 31

Living Assistance 33

Notification - The WARN Act 34

Health Insurance - COBRA 37

Trade Act 37

Job Search Assistance 38

One-Stop Career Centers 38

Severance Pay 39

Other Components of the Severance Package 39

Timing of Payment 40

What Are Your Options? 40

Types of Unemployment 40

Chapter 3 Reduction in Force (RIF) 45

Reduction in Force 45

Layoff/Restructuring 46

Temporary Layoffs/Furloughs 46

Your Rights and Resources 47

Temporary Furlough 47

Permanent Layoff 48

Your Employer's Obligations 48

Chapter 4 Closing/Bankruptcy 53

Business Closing/Bankruptcy 53

Your Rights and Resources 54

Your Employer's Obligations 55

Chapter 5 Faring 61

Firing 62

Firing with Cause 62

Firing without Cause 63

Wrongful Discharge 63

Illegal Discrimination 64

Your Rights 65

Your Employer's Obligations 66

An Employer's Obligations in a Termination with Cause 66

Sample Letter of Understanding 68

An Employer's Obligations in a Termination Without Cause 68

Chapter 6 Have You Been Fired Illegally? 71

Can You Sue Your Former Employer? 72

Employees Under Contract 72

Union Workers 73

Government Workers 73

Whistleblowers 74

Public Policy 77

Chapter 7 Considerations for a Lawsuit 81

Employment Contracts 82

Improper Notice Under the WARN Act 82

Discrimination 83

Filing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Complaint 84

The Process of Challenging a Termination86

Deciding on a Settlement 88

Chapter 8 Working with an Attorney to Challenge a Termination 93

How to Find the Right Attorney 93

Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Attorney 94

What You Need to Provide Your Attorney 96

Chapter 9 Surviving Unemployment 101

Getting Help 102

Health Insurance 102

Mortgage Assistance 103

Assistance with Utilities 105

Food Stamps 106

Assistance with Debts 108

Coping Emotionally and Physically 110

Chapter 10 Budgeting 117

Analyzing Your Monthly Expenses 118

Analyzing Your Monthly Income 120

Reducing Expenses 121

Chapter 11 Generating Additional income 125

Home Equity Lines of Credit 127

Part-Time or Temporary Work 127

Monthly Budget 128

Handling Your Taxes 130

Chapter 12 Networking, Support Groups, and Qther Resources 135

Networking 135

Support Groups 137

Training Resources 137

Workforce Investment Act (WIA) 138

One-Stop Career Centers 139

Community Colleges 140

Chapter 13 The Job Hunt 145

Essential Elements of an Effective Job Search 145

Using an Employment Agency 147

Types of Employment Service Firms 148

Protecting Yourself 150

Print and Internet Ads 151

Job Fairs 152

Create Your Own Job 153

Chapter 14 Résumés and Cover Letters 155

The Biggest Mistakes of All 156

Résumé Styles 157

Chronological 157

Functional 158

Targeted 158

Creative 158

Web Résumés 159

Sample Chronological Résumé 160

Sample Functional Résumé 161

Sample Targeted Résumé 162

Writing the Cover Letter 167

Types of Cover Letters 172

The Solicited Response 172

Letters to a Recruitment Agency 172

"Cold-Call" Letters 173

Online Cover Letters 174

Writing a Cover Letter After Being Fired or Laid Off 174

Sample Cover Letters 175

Sample Solicited Response Cover Letter 177

Sample Cover Letter to a Recruiter 178

Sample "Cold-call" Cover Letter 180

Sample Online Cover Letter 181

Chapter 15 The Job interview 185

Preparing for an Interview 185

Sample Thank-you/Follow-up Letter 188

How to Handle your Termination in an Interview 189

Moving On: What Losing a Job Taught Me 193

Conclusion 193

Appendix A Glossary 195

Appendix B Federal Whistieblower Protection Laws 199

Appendix C Resources by State 205

Breakdown of State Discrimination Laws 205

Dislocated Worker Assistance Centers by State 223

State Living Assistance Programs 230

State Departments of Labor 237

Legal Services Corporation State Offices 243

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) 259

State Civil Rights Offices 269

State Workforce Investment Act Offices 276

State Health Insurance Continuation Laws 285

LIHEAP State Grantees 307

OSHA Offices - To Report Whistleblower Discrimination 331

Small Business Administration (SBA) offices 334

State Rapid Response Coordinators 339

Appendix D Resources 351

Appendix E Bibliography 353

Author Biography 355

Index 357

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 24, 2010

    What to Do When You Are Fired or Laid Off

    With today's economy and the way the job market is headed, this book is a must read for anyone who is gainfully employed. I found this book to be very informational and will remember some of the strategies needed to use if I ever lose my job in the future.

    The book offers a very detailed table of contents and case studies throughout the book. There is a detailed glossary of terms and also a very extensive state by state listing of all services that are available from heating assistance, food stamps, and legal avenues.

    The author gives very good advice on how to handle things if you are fired and even how to prepare yourself for when you do get fired or laid off. The author gives types of warning signs to look for and where to find outside sources of warning signs. The author even goes on how to handle the job interview process when you are back the market trying to find a job.

    This book is an easy read with lots of details and explanations. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is employed and plans on seeking employment.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 23, 2010

    A good start...

    If you think your job is currently at risk (aren't they all in these times) this book is a must read. There is a great deal of information on where to start when you wake up the day after you have been laid off or fired. It also presents the situation in a hopeful way that will help keep your mood afloat during this extremely horrible situation. It provides a solid general layout of what to do and how to do it, along with specific resources for you to conduct more personalized research. It gives good general information on your rights and where to find additional information. The case studies are nice and inspiring, which help prevent you from thinking about the negative and often devastating effects of unemployment that can happen. Overall, the book is a positive outlook on how to make your life better and put a positive spin on being canned.
    However, please note the book may not seem as helpful if you have been out of work for a while. As stated, these are beginning steps that most people should have taken within six months of being terminated. If you are someone who has been out of work long term the steps in this book are most likely already explored.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 5, 2010

    How to survive a layoff + How to get a job

    Ordered chronologically by steps, this book has everything, including how to prepare yourself before you lose your job, how to protect yourself legally during the process, how to protect yourself financially (including health insurance!), and how to get back on your feet afterwards. It's like a how-to book on every process related to jobs, before, during, and after. Even if you haven't been laid-off/fired yet and are just considering your options, this book is a great source of information. Book gives how-to's on job fairs, resumes, cover letters, interviews, and much, much more. Case studies are very helpful. Each case study gives a detailed account of showcased person's experience and subsequent advice to others. The appendix at the end is very useful. It contains several resources, laws and contact information, sometimes even separated by state (as are parts of the book, making it an easy go-to guide). To keep readers from falling asleep, there are very entertaining pictures sprinkled throughout the book. (I especially like the one on p.44). However, the book is targeted towards jobs with corporate industries. Some chapters may not apply if you're employed as part of an university or research organization. Still, there's enough information in this book that applies to all job types.

    Overall, the book contains tips and facts that are good to keep in mind, regardless of employment status. Though some of the advice we've probably all heard at least a hundred times, everyone should be aware of all their legal rights, especially during the current economic situation. Like the foreword says, "If you choose to read this book before you are fired, you will learn exactly what to do to prepare yourself financially and legally before it is too late." In other words, better safe than sorry. Pick it up - you won't regret it. And don't feel embarrassed when you do; you'll be much better off and ahead of the game than the rest of crowd when crisis strikes. And to top it off, buying the book will save animals. You can feel that you contributed to a good cause because a portion of your purchase will go to The Humane Society of United States).

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 14, 2010

    Get it Before it's Literally Too Late

    PK Fontana's book, 'What to Do When You Are Fired or Laid Off", is a somber and resourceful guide that covers a variety of bases, and then some, of every gainfully employed persons worst nightmare. While I find some fault with the 'when' rather than 'if' clause that the title presents (as if this is a given that we all soon will be one or the other, a fact which seems somewhat too prophetic for my liking), the advice is practical and sound and provides genuinely valuable advice to the recently unemployed.

    It cannot be argued that times are unsettling indeed, and Fontana ranges across a gamut of wisdom from discerning whether or not your firing may be illegal to walking you through the steps for filing an EEOC complaint. Other timely tips include options for assistance and cover the expected offerings such as Food Stamps and Utility Assistance, and are decidedly helpful even if a little dry on the reading.

    It is unfortunate that the title will likely appeal only to those that are the recently laid off or fired. Frankly, this is a good go-to read for anyone currently working, if only to keep a calm head and get the right information before you walk (or are escorted) out the door. There are any number of rights that working people have due them, and often under the emotional chaos of being laid off those opportunities are quaffed altogether too quickly. Knowing your rights before you are let go is critical, and Fontana succinctly underscores the essentials putting that knowledge directly where it belongs - in your hands.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2010

    Great for Current Economic Status

    Our countries current economic status makes this book extremely relevant and helpful to readers. Within the first few chapters I could think of several people I know who are going through similar situations and may not know which direction to head in. Basically, this book came out at a great time to actually help people.
    The case studies of other people that have been fired or laid off can assist readers when making decisions about their own future. The author uses excellent examples of the average worker who has been fired and explains where they went from there. Chapter nine, titled "Surviving Unemployment", was one of the best chapters in the book. It advises you on how to handle insurance and mortgages, informs you on how to get food stamps or other benefits, and even addresses the emotional strain the reader may feel. This chapter got down to many of the core issues readers may be worried about, all in an easy to read manner.
    Another great thing about this book is the detail the author gives even when he is done giving suggestions about challenging a termination and contracts with employers. He informs the reader on how to get back into the field and make a resume/cover letter and how to prepare for an interview. Not only is this a great book for someone who has recently been fired or laid off, it also gives legitimate suggestions for how the reader should think going into the future.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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